The Sweet Stocking is Here!

For the past several years, I’ve been plugging away at sewing quilted stockings for my family, only to find myself getting more and more frustrated with the lack of reasonably sized (ie, not big enough to fit a PS5) Christmas stockings that wouldn’t take forever to sew. I decided it was high time to design my own, and landed on what I believe is a perfectly pint-sized Christmas stocking!

My Christmas fabric stash is small but full of beloved, no longer produced prints, so I made sure to make the patchwork squares small for maximum fussy cutting with minimal fabric usage. You could also use the pattern to make solid stockings in just one print, or improv-piece the top to make something fun and unique!

The Sweet Stocking is made using simple patchwork squares, one template, and an easy sewing technique to make the lining and outer in just one seam! The hanging tag can be made from quilting cotton fabric or your favorite ribbon or twill tape.

This project is a great intro to quilting on your machine, with a small shape and lots of options- quilt in straight lines, a grid pattern, or free motion if you have the right foot. Alternatively, how lovely would hand quilting look on these stockings?!

These stockings are just the right size to stuff with little goodies like candy, nail polish, or pens, and would also be perfect for baby’s first Christmas or your favorite fur babies. I love how you can comfortably hang a couple of them on a small mantel or shelf.

Click here to go to the download shop to get the free pattern! Let me know in the comments how yours turned out, and use #sweetstocking on Instagram (tag me @katiegouwens) so I see your lovely Sweet Stocking photos!

“Bigger on the Inside” Zip Pouch Tutorial

DSCN2790So maybe the title isn’t perfectly accurate and I pushed it a little to get a Doctor Who reference. This tote is the same dimensions on the inside as the outside. Sue me. BUT it there is something about this tote that separates it from the last zip pouch tutorial I posted that could be argued as making it “bigger on the inside.” DSCN2787 The little pulley tab on the side allows the bag to open to 100% capacity. Most zippers lose space where the pull stops, which doesn’t seem like a big deal, until you try to fit an essential in but it just barely won’t fit. The squared off corners allow the bag to sit up, sealing the deal to make this the most useful little project. A gift for my Whovian cousin’s 16th birthday, I filled it with EOS products, nail polish, St. Ives scrub, Not Your Mother’s Beach Babe Spray, and other little goodies just in case you’re looking for gift ideas. The fabric I found at JoAnn’s, a single bolt I grabbed like a greedy kid in a candy store. If you can’t find any in your local store, Spoonflower.com boasts a huge selection of nerdy prints (including BBC Sherlock, which I lust over until the day I can afford $17 per yard for basic cotton print.) The polka dot lining lends a girly touch. If you really wanted to be an overachiever, a reversible zipper would make the bag totally reversible and maximize your print fabric enjoyment. This bag is really just like my Simple Zip Pouch, with a few variations, mostly being the zipper tab and the squared-off base. It’s a little bigger, at 10″ by 11″, better for storing more stuff. I should have used a shorter zipper (the overhang is only supposed to be about 1″.) Just in case you were wondering, Matt Smith is my favorite Doctor. Materials -2 rectangles outer fabric, 11″ by 10″ -2 rectangles lining fabric, 11″ by 10″ -1 12″ zipper step1drwhozip 1. Lay 1 outer fabric face up on the table (note: if it’s a directional print like mine, make sure the print is oriented in the right direction before sewing.) Lay zipper face down on top of it, aligning top edges. Lay 1 lining fabric face down on top of the outer/zipper pile, aligning top edge, and stitch, but for the last 1″ or so, push the zipper out of the way so you’re only sewing on fabric. 2. fold fabric over and use iron to press. Note how the zipper is unattached to the last 1″ of fabric, but the fabrics are sewed to each other. 3. Repeat steps 1 & 2 on other side of zipper. 4. Unzip zipper halfway. Fold lining half together and outer halves together as shown with zipper in the middle. 5. Push zipper tail inside the outer layer and pin to hold it out of the way. The goal is to not sew on the zipper at all on one side of the bag. 6. Sew all the way around the bag, leaving a 3″ gap in the middle bottom of the lining. Press seams open as best you can; it will make the next step much easier. step2drwho 7. Take one corner of outer fabric layer. Pull the sides apart and form a triangle, side seam and bottom seam aligned on top of each other. Lay it flat on the table. Use a ruler and fabric pencil to mark off 3.5″ across corner. 8. Sew straight along the drawn line. 9. Use fabric scissors and trim off corner, leaving about 3/8″ for seam allowance. 10. Repeat process on other outer corner and on both lining corners. Press corner seams open as best you can so they will stack neatly when bag is done. 11. Turn bag inside-out through lining gap. 12. Use hand stitches to close gap in lining. step3drwhotabPull Tab 1. Cut a 2″ by 3″ rectangle of fabric. Have fun centering the print (I wanted to ensure the “Police Box” part was right on top.) 2. Fold tab in 1/2″ on each long side and use hot iron to press in place. Turn each end on short side under 1/2″ and press. 3. Fold entire piece in half, wrong sides together, and press. 4. Place folded tab onto the zipper end that’s hanging off the bag (opposite the pulley), sandwiching the zipper end in between the fold. Sew all the way around. DSCN2781 Optional steps: photograph in front of chalkboard 2 minutes before class starts. Make sure nail polish is chipped before photographing hands-on steps. Apologize to your readers for posting 2 zip pouch tutorials in a row. Even though you’re not sorry because it’s so dang cute.    

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Simple Zip Pouch Tutorial

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Somewhere between sewing fancy dresses and quilts, small, compact and practical projects became my favorite things to sew. Little pouches and bags have seemingly endless uses, but mostly they’re (almost) instant gratification made  up in pretty printed cottons. The fabric is inexpensive, any size is possible, and did I mention the fabric is fun to pick out? you get to pick TWO prints (as this bag is lined) or a print and a solid, or two solids, whatever you want. I was feeling inspired by Downton Abbey when I picked these two fabrics from my local quilt shop. I loved the charming, old-fashioned floral against the intricate mint damask.

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This variation on a basic lined pouch is the simplest of all, just a rectangle with a zipper. I’m not going to lie– the technique I used here is a bit tricky to get the hang of, but once you do it’s the only way to conveniently create a lined zip-up bag. Just keep calm and follow each step–I promise once you “get” how it goes together, you’ll never want to use any other method. Make one for yourself, make one for a friend and fill with little gifts for a sweet present.

I apologize for the rapidly lower-and-lower quality photos– sun was going down, folks!

Note on sizing: I wanted a roughly 7″ by 6″ bag, but you can make any size you wish; just be sure your width is always 1″ longer than your zipper (for example, buy a 10″ zipper and cut 11″ wide rectangles out of fabric.)

Materials

-2 rectangles 8″ by 7″ outside fabric

-2 rectangles 8″ by 7″ lining fabric

-1 coordinating colored 7″ zipper

Seam allowance: roughly 3/8″, though 1/2″ could be used to no great harm

step1

1. Lie one rectangle of outside fabric face up on table; lay zipper upside down on top of it, aligning zipper’s upper edge with top edge of fabric.

2. Lay one rectangle of lining fabric face down on top of outside fabric, aligning top edge of lining fabric with the top edge of the zipper. You now have 3 layers, outside fabric/zipper/lining fabric, all 3 aligned at the top. Pin and sew along the top edge, using a zipper foot and unzipping the zipper if needed to avoid the pull disorienting the seam.

3. Unfold fabric; you now have an outside piece and a lining piece wrong sides together (shown here unfolded just so you can see the orientation) and zipper sandwiched in the middle on one side. Use an iron to press right up against the zipper’s edge, pressing the two halves together to make a nice flat seam.

step2

4. Repeat step 3 on the opposite side of the zipper. After this step, you’ll have 2 layers of fabric on each half of the zipper.

step 3

5. Unfold both halves and orient as so: outside layer to outside layer, lining layer to lining layer, right sides together and zipper in the center. Use your fingers to push zipper so the pull is between the outside layers; pinch the lining layers below it together and pin along the length of the zipper to keep that pull in between the outside layers. Unzip the zipper halfway.

6. Sew around the entire perimeter of the piece, leaving a 3″ gap in the middle of the bottom of the lining, and making sure zipper is pinched between the outside layers as you sew over it. NOTE: I left my gap in the corner of the piece, which is ok, but leaving a gap the center is much easier I’ve since discovered.

step4

7. Turn the piece inside-out through the gap and halfway undone zipper (if you didn’t unzip it, like I didn’t the first time I made this project, may the odds ever be in your favor.)

8. Use a hand sewing needle and thread to stitch up the gap, turning the edges in and making tiny mattress stitches. Tuck the lining back inside and press the whole thing. Fill with stuff and never lose another lip balm again. Who am I kidding? it’s a zip pouch, not a miracle worker.

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